“I turned my can’ts into cans and my dreams into plans.” Rachael Johnlewis selected this statement as her graduation quote, and it couldn’t be more accurate. Rachael embodies three traits that everyone should strive for: perseverance, patience, and determination.
Racheal quit high school at 17, and at age 19 she was pregnant with her first child, who she unfortunately lost in a miscarriage. She became pregnant again and decided she wanted more for her and her child. After some initial struggles getting into a local college’s HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) program, she was referred to Goodwill Industries of Acadiana for their adult HiSET preparation classes and officially enrolled in the program in 2014. Her initial scheduled time for the classes proved to be inconvenient as she had to cut hours at work. Car troubles and having to pay bills meant that Rachael couldn’t afford to lose these work hours, so she stopped going to the classes for two years. In 2016, she was pregnant again and knew she wanted to try for her HiSET once more. Earning the HiSET took on a bigger meaning for Rachael. Now, she wasn’t just earning it for herself, but for her two children. She wanted to be someone her kids looked up to look up to and she wanted to instill in them a determination to never give up.
After receiving financial help from someone who believed in her dreams, Racheal was once again scheduled to take her test. She struggled with a particular section of the test, and wanted to give up. With encouragement from people who truly cared about her, she worked with her HiSET instructor closely on the areas where she needed the most help. On July 10, 2017 she officially passed all portions of her HiSET test; achieving something she aimed to finished for several years. She is currently seeking out culinary school in hopes of becoming a chef. Rachael is an inspiration to all and an example of how hard work and patience pays off.